The holidays are a time for
family putting 80+ hours into your brand new video game collection! But how do you know which games to get? If you’re not a gamer yourself, it can be hard to pick out the right video game gift. That’s why Best of NJ is putting together the ultimate holiday gift guide for the year’s hottest games.
All you need to do is find out what kind of game your gamers like to play.
From AAA to indie, all games are fair… game. I’ve broken the list down by category, so there should be something for everyone. I hope these suggestions help make your holiday shopping for the gamers in your life a bit easier. As a quick note to parents and adults shopping for the kids in their life: Please consider a game’s ESRB rating before making a purchase (I’ve included the content rating alongside each game), as not all games are appropriate for children.
RPG (role-playing game) – Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Why you should play it: By nature, role-playing games often require a lot of playtime (as in, 100+ hours per game) to complete; their expansive worlds, engrossing multi-layered story arcs and hundreds of side-quests and require a significant time investment to complete. Which always begs the question: Are they better suited to being played at-home, or do they work best when you can take them with you and play anywhere? Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, a portable console that can be docked for TV play, both options are available. For Switch owners, the RPG of choice is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The game features a gorgeous soundtrack, stunning visuals and intense boss fights. All kidding aside, though, the time commitment is real for this one.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch exclusive
ESRB Rating: T (Teen) for Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
Action – Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Why you should play it: The Assassin’s Creed franchise has existed for a full decade now. But lucky for newcomers to the series, there has never been a better time to jump on board. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is a soft reboot of sorts. While it technically takes place after the events of previous games, it actually tells the story of how the Assassin’s Guild was first formed. In any case, Origins is the first AC game in recent years to actually be really, really good. The action is fast-paced, the story and side-quests are very engaging and the skill progression system is full of perks that will keep gamers playing until they’ve maxed out their character. Egypt (where the game is set) is also just a beautiful place to explore, even digitally.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: M (Mature) 17+ for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol (note: the nudity is primarily topless women)
Star Wars: Battlefront II JK LOL, Mario Party: The Top 100
Why you should play it: If you’re looking to gift a game that will encourage families and friends to play together, Mario Party: The Top 100 is the perfect choice. As the name implies, The Top 100 is a carefully curated collection of the most popular mini-games in the Mario Party franchise’s long history. The game plays best when you have four players, but works with any combination of 1-4. (Plus, you only need one copy of the game in order for all 4 players to join the fun using their own 3DS systems.) Each mini-game takes seconds to learn and minutes to play, with instructions showing up on-screen before each game begins. It’s fun, fast-paced and, best of all, perfect for all ages.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS exclusive
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) for Mild Cartoon Violence
Fighting – Injustice 2
Why you should play it: Injustice 2, a fighting game centered around DC super heroes and a handful of guest characters from other properties, offers a constant stream of new content updates. From unlockable, stat-boosting gear and daily challenges to frequent character additions to the overall roster, fans have been coming back to Injustice every month since it first released back in May, 2017. If the gamer you’re shopping for likes fighting games, Injustice 2 is the way to go this holiday. (I also recommend buying the Season Pass so they can unlock bonus characters.)
Price: $49.99 (Season Pass to unlock 9 additional characters costs $39.99)
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence, Tobacco Use
Family – LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
Why you should play it: If you know a young person who loves super heroes and watching Marvel movies, there’s no better gift this year than LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. The game is chock full of characters (some they will instantly recognize, some they will be meeting for the first time) and activities that will keep them entertained for hours. Adults can have plenty of fun too, though, so don’t let the colorful brick-based visuals fool you. The LEGO games are packed with Easter eggs and humor only hardcore comic book fans will pick up on. The core gameplay is easy to learn, but with a plethora of bonus content and characters to unlock, the game has plenty to offer for experienced players as well.
Price: $39.99 – $59.99 (depending on platform)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Cartoon Violence
Quirky – Hello Neighbor
Why you should play it: Hello Neighbor has got to be one of the greatest ideas for a game in a long time. It hits on a topic that’s crossed every single person’s mind at some point or another: Who is my neighbor, really? We think we know them, but we’re also pretty sure they’re harboring some deep, dark secret. Whatever the truth is, we all think there’s something a bit off about our neighbor across the street. Which makes the premise of Hello Neighbor all the more enticing. In gameplay terms, Hello Neighbor is a stealth horror game. The (added) twist is that every time you get caught by your neighbor, the AI learns from your previous attempts. Eventually, the real challenge is finding a way to outsmart yourself, coming up with new ways to break in and hide from your neighbor to avoid capture.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Mild Violence